Foreigners are known in Mandarin as “ke ren”, or guests. Aware of our foreignness in Beijing, Stephanie Shepherd and I decided to reflect on this through an impromptu curatorial project based in the backyard garden of our second Red Gate Residency apartment. This outdoor garden space, a rarity in the high-rise dominated Tuan Jie Hu neighbourhood, was one in which we were separated from our neighbours, yet highly visible through an enclosing fence.
For this project we produced t-shirts with a Ke Ren Yuan / Guest Garden logo, loosely drawn from that of a nearby pastry store, as well as contributing Balfour’s hula hoop (Willing Suspension of Disbelief) and Shepherd’s stumbling block sculpture (Stubborn Object Number One). We invited other artists who were foreigners, both short-term art residency participants and longer-term expatriates living and working in Beijing, to produce artwork for the one-day event. Guest artists were Erin Coates, Michael Eddy, Jean Klimack, Doug Lewis, Justin Spiers, and Emi Uemura.
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